, (Sanskrit: “essence,” “taste,” or “flavour,” literally “sap” or “juice”) Indian concept of aesthetic flavour, an essential element of any work of visual, literary, or performing art that can only be suggested, not described. It is a kind of contemplative abstraction in which the inwardness of human feelings suffuses the surrounding world of embodied forms.
Bharata Muni enunciated the eight Rasas in the Nātyasāstra, an ancient Sanskrit text of dramatic theory and other performance arts, written between 200 BC and 200 AD. In the Indian performing arts, a rasa is a sentiment or emotion evoked in each member of the audience by the art. The Natya Shastra mentions six rasa in one section, but in the dedicated section on rasa it states and discusses eight primary rasa. Each rasa, according to Nātyasāstra, has a presiding deity and a specific colour. There are 4 pairs of rasas. For instance, Hāsya arises out of Sringara. The Aura of a frightened person is black, and the aura of an angry person is red. Bharata Muni established the following:
- Śṛṅgāraḥ (शृङ्गारः): Romance, Love, attractiveness. Presiding deity: Vishnu. Colour: light green
- Hāsyam (हास्यं): Laughter, mirth, comedy. Presiding deity: Shiva. Colour: white
- Raudram (रौद्रं): Fury. Presiding deity: Shiva. Colour: red
- Kāruṇyam (कारुण्यं): Compassion, mercy. Presiding deity: Yama. Colour: grey
- Bībhatsam (बीभत्सं): Disgust, aversion. Presiding deity: Shiva. Colour: blue
- Bhayānakam (भयानकं): Horror, terror. Presiding deity: Yama. Colour: black
- Veeram (वीरं): Heroism. Presiding deity: Indra. Colour: saffron
- Adbhutam (अद्भुतं): Wonder, amazement. Presiding deity: Brahma. Colour: yellow
A ninth rasa was added by later authors. This addition had to undergo a good deal of struggle between the sixth and the tenth centuries, before it could be accepted by the majority of the Alankarikas, and the expression "Navarasa" (the nine rasas), could come into vogue.
Shānta-rasa functions as an equal member of the set of rasas, but it is simultaneously distinct as being the most clear form of aesthetic bliss. Abhinavagupta likens it to the string of a jeweled necklace; while it may not be the most appealing for most people, it is the string that gives form to the necklace, allowing the jewels of the other eight rasas to be relished. Relishing the rasas and particularly shānta-rasa is hinted as being as-good-as but never-equal-to the bliss of Self-realization experienced by yogis (Source Wikipedia).